Ahmed Haison, of Moroccan origin and in an irregular situation on the islands, has been convicted of causing damage to the Puerto Bello complex, in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaira, where he was being accommodated by the Government of the Canary Islands, he has, this week, been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Convicted by the Second Section of the Provincial Court of Las Palmas for a crime of public disorder, and another of attack on an agent of the authorities, he was acquitted of a crime of damages, for which he was also accused.

According to the facts proven during the trial, Haison committed these acts while at the Puerto Bello apartment complex in Puerto Rico, “in the company of other minors” during the events that occurred at 10:30 p.m. on February 8, 2021 . The ruling adds that this individual attempted to start a riot despite “the tranquility of the rest of the residents of the centre and its workers” under the management of the NGO Respuesta Social (Social Response),  an establishment temporarily under the supervision of the Government of the Canary Islands that was used as a reception for unaccompanied foreign minors, during the 2020/21 migrant crisis that coincided with pandemic restrictions and the collapse of tourism.

The defendant was carrying “a wooden leg” he had torn from the bed in a room, and was, with four minors “who also had chains, wooden sticks or glass in their hands,”  intimidating any residents of the complex that did not join their revolt. They caused “a massive disturbance at the centre and urged the other residents to join in.” They managed to get about another 20 minors to join in the disturbance, details the judgement handed down this week.

Some of the minors caused damage on each of the floors of the complex, breaking glass in the doors and windows, breaking all kinds of furniture and appliances, fittings and light sockets. They also threw various objects causing “the educators at the centre” to have to hide in a room on the lower floor “due to the fear this caused“, to “avoid being injured”.

Law enforcement

Guardia Civil agents arrived at the scene, for the second time that night, which led the group of youths to place “barricades built with chairs, microwaves and glass on the floor” who then spilled soapy water to try to prevent access to the complex “and the arrest of the perpetrators.”

The defendant, along with the other minors, threw several objects at the officers, such as full water bottles and small appliances. The sentence details that the lives of the Guardia Civil were put in “danger”, although luckily they were not hit by any of the objects that were thrown at them.

The total damage caused during the disturbance at the centre was valued, by appraisal experts, at €10,092.  The owners of the complex have tried to claim more than €1 million in damages due to this and various other smaller disturbances alleged to have taken place over several months, though this is the only case of its kind before the courts.

Some garden furniture had been thrown at police from another hotel facility, being used to accommodate minors, in the town a week or two before this disturbance, when police tried to apprehend an individual causing problems there.  It is not known if the same individual was involved in that other incident too. 

What is known is that there were serious questions over the age of approximately 300 individuals, in total, who had claimed to be minors, and for whom bone tests were urgently ordered to discover whether or not they had made a false claim so as to not be treated as adults.  Several, perhaps as many as 200, of the 2,800 or so minors taken in by the Canary Islands Government did turn out to actually be adults making false claims about their youth.adult male